With Mumbai attack accusation off his back, Tahawwur Rana to appeal conviction, say attorneys

Tahawwur Rana

Pakistani-Canadian Tahawwur Rana, who was sentenced to 14 years in jail for providing material support to Pakistan-based LeT and for backing a plot to attack a Danish newspaper, would appeal against his conviction, his attorneys said today.

"I am sure he is pleased that the judge decided not to include the terrorism enhancement. We would appeal the conviction, certainly and we would discuss this with Mr Rana," Peter Blegan, attorney for Rana told reporters after a Chicago court yesterday sentenced Rana, 52, for 14 years in jail followed by five years of supervised release.

"The next step is to appeal. That is to challenge the conviction on evidentiary grounds whether there were errors during the trial," Blegan said, adding he has 14 days to file the appeal.

"We will discuss with Mr Rana whether we would try to reduce the sentence, but would certainly be attacking the fact that he was convicted," he said.

The US District Judge Harry D Leinenweber sentenced Rana after hearing from both the government attorney and those of Rana, during which the two argued on the length of imprisonment.

The last minute arguments lasted for more than an hour and half before the judge noted "This certainly was a dastardly plot".

Blegan said he respects the court's decision.

"My reaction is the judge made the right decision. We had asked for slightly below guideline sentence (135 months). We got a high end (168 months) of the guideline sentence, but I have a lot of respect for Judge Harry Leinenweber and he has been doing this for a long time," Blegan said.

"He took into account what he considered was the serious nature of the offence and that is why he gave the high end of the guideline," he added.

But, "We will, of course, appeal the conviction. The Government has the right to appeal the sentencing. So they may choose to appeal the sentencing as well," said Charles Swift, another attorney for Rana.

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